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Thread: Field Forces

  1. #1 Field Forces 
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    Hi, I'm no physicist, nor do I have an extensive background in physics; however, I'm a science enthusiast and strive to understand the concepts the best I can. So I apologize if this seems a bit, well, retreaded. But here goes.

    Could the obstacle in unifying the field forces perhaps not lie between the nuclear/electromagnetic forces and gravity, but in a heretofore entirely undiscovered set of field forces? Consider "dark matter." Could its anomalous (anomalies being the seed from which new paradigms are born) behavior of "counteracting gravity" not simply be another type of field force, related to gravity in a similar way to which the nuclear forces are related to the electromagnetic, but whose mechanics are still out of reach of our paradigm? Could breakthroughs in "unified field" theories such as the string theories and M-theory lead us to identifying the ways in which such categories of fields could be expressed? Pop physics won't give me enough to satisfy my craving. What theories (concepts in particular, if available) might help to put this in context (and where can I find material on them!), or is my thinking totally bunk?


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  3. #2 Re: Field Forces 
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    Quote Originally Posted by thonel
    Hi, I'm no physicist, nor do I have an extensive background in physics; however, I'm a science enthusiast and strive to understand the concepts the best I can. So I apologize if this seems a bit, well, retreaded. But here goes.

    Could the obstacle in unifying the field forces perhaps not lie between the nuclear/electromagnetic forces and gravity, but in a heretofore entirely undiscovered set of field forces? Consider "dark matter." Could its anomalous (anomalies being the seed from which new paradigms are born) behavior of "counteracting gravity" not simply be another type of field force, related to gravity in a similar way to which the nuclear forces are related to the electromagnetic, but whose mechanics are still out of reach of our paradigm? Could breakthroughs in "unified field" theories such as the string theories and M-theory lead us to identifying the ways in which such categories of fields could be expressed? Pop physics won't give me enough to satisfy my craving. What theories (concepts in particular, if available) might help to put this in context (and where can I find material on them!), or is my thinking totally bunk?
    1. String theories and M theory are not yet real physical theories. M theory is really a conjecture that has remained unproven since 1995. String theories, along with M theory have yet to be rigorously defined. So, while they may sometime, perhaps, become viable physical theories they are not yet. In fact they have produced no new physical predictions.

    2. Even if string theories and M theory eventually pan out, they will basically explain the known forces from a unified perspective, and not produce some new fifth force.

    3. I have no idea what you mean by "categories of fields".

    4. The strong and weak nuclear forces are not electromagnetic. It is not clear what you mean when you say that they are related to electromagnetic forces. It is possible to construct a unified theory of the weak and electromagnetic forces, and in fact this has been done. Weinberg, Salaam and Glashow received Nobel prizes for formulatin this electroweak theory and 'tHooft and Veltman received one for showing that it is renormalizable. But no one knows how to unify the theory of the strong interaction (quantum chromodynamics) with the electroweak theory -- that would be a Grand Unified Theory (GUT), and there is ongoing research to see if this can be done.

    5 I am not sure how to satisfy your need for something beyond "pop physics" and be consistent with what you say is a non-technical background. You should definitely watch the videos in the links provided in the "sticky" thread QED in this form. After you watch those vidoes you might at the books in this menu of possibilities from which you might find some nourishment. The "popular" books are all by first-rank real physicists or mathematicians and that is not an accident:

    Popular books

    QED -- Richard Feynman (based on the lectures in the video)

    The Road to Reality, A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe -- Roger Penrose

    Subatomic Particles -- Steven Weinberg

    Dreams of a Final Theory -- Steven Weinberg

    In Search of the Ultimate Building Blocks -- Gerard 't Hooft

    Supersymmetry -- Gordon Kane

    Serious science books (these range from slightly difficult based on one's background to nearly incomprehensible no matter what your background)

    Modern Elementary Particle Physics -- Gordon Kane

    Quantum Electrodynamics -- Richard Feynman

    Feynman Lectures on Gravitation -- Richard Feynman

    Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell -- A. Zee

    An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory -- Peskin and Schroeder

    String Theory and M-Theory Becker, Becker and Schwarz

    String Theory (2 vols) -- Polchinski

    Superstring theory (2 vols) -- Green, Schwarz and Witten

    Unfortunately because you are choosing a topic at the cutting edge of research, there is essentially no middle ground between popularizations and x-rated hard-core physics texts that use some very sophisticated mathematics. These latter books tend to be somewhat expensive and can be hard to find to boot.


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